My test drive was a most diverting experience. The Granturismo is shorter and narrower than my present car, but the interior is elegant and comfortable. In sport mode, this is a fierce machine. The sense of raw power ("in reserve, of course, officer") is reassuring. Out of sport mode, however, the car wafts around a city in a comfortable, civilised way.
A deal had to be cut with Mrs Paine on her luggage allocation for our holiday trips. She will get to have the entire 260 litre boot (and the custom made luggage) for her clothes, while I make do (even for a fortnight's holiday) with a weekend bag on the seat behind me. That issue resolved, it seems "my car" has finally been made. What a surprise that it should be Italian.
Shame on Porsche, Aston Martin and Ferrari. They make all the competing machinery, but I cannot squeeze into the driver's seat of any of their models. BMW do slightly better. I can get at least get behind the wheel of a BMW 6 series coupe, but I could not drive it comfortably for very long. When I was a young man my height was extraordinary, but I routinely stand in lifts now with two or three European men who are taller than my 2 metres. Humans are getting bigger but, thanks to the new religion of which Al Gore is high priest, serious motor cars are getting smaller.
Earnest negotiations are now underway with Mrs Paine as to colour and interior trim specifications for the car so that an order can be placed in time for delivery before our August holiday trip to Provence. A car like this should really be red or yellow, with spectacular red leather interior. I may have to make concessions to stop her reverting to her default view that I should buy less frivolous machinery She is sensibly concerned that more outlandish colour schemes will attract the attentions of thieves and inspire envy and malice in traffic policemen.
I am not quite sure Mrs Paine fully "gets" the spirit of Italian motoring (her experience sitting behind the salesman as I tried out sports mode didn't help, I admit) but I am sure a deal can be struck. Regular readers know that my current car is called "Claudia", as befits a German beauty. Any suggestions as to the name for her successor?